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Records Management Service

What is the Records Management Service?

The Records Management Service (RMS) manages and stores semi-current records for Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council. Records are semi-current when they are no longer needed on a daily basis in the Office, but may need to be referred to occasionally. Records Management is now seen by central government as an integral part of the whole future strategy for Information Management.

The Service supports the efficiency with which all other Services and activities can operate as recorded information is essential for practical and legal business reasons (corporate benefit), but also for public access linked to democratic accountability of decision making (community benefit).

There are many advantages to Records Management, the most noticeable being storage in high density record stores costs roughly one tenth of the price of storage in prime office space. A second advantage is the reduction in office clutter. Effective Records Management can also improve search and retrieval time, thus improving decision making, thus promoting excellent business practice.

Transferring consignments to the Records Management Service

If you wish to deposit boxes of records with us, please contact the RMS Team who will issue you with specially designed “Flat Pack” boxes for you to deposit your documents in and a date when the consignment can be transferred.  Because most of the material we receive goes to a partner for off-site storage it is necessary to use only that partner's boxes for storage, which we receive at a discount

Please Note that the cost of storage is rising all the time due to the large amounts of material sent to us each year. Because of this from 3rd April 2013 we will be charging customers for each new box they request. The cost is currently (from April 2015) £1.50. This is to help recoup some of the costs.

When filling the boxes you are required to complete the electronic records transfer form (ERC2) which can be e-mailed to you if you contact RMS Staff. This form comes in two formats Case format, for Social Care and other client files and General format for everything else.

The ERC2 form contains the following sections:

Consignment Box Number: just number the first box as "1" and continue from there. This is only a temporary number until we designate an RC Box Location.

File Description a short sentence listing the file’s title, or description so it can be identified, and verified (with case files also add Case number / PRN Number and date of birth of the subject)

Action Date this refers to the Retention period: this is the time the file has to be retained before destruction or appraisal. Retention periods are usually established by legislation or best practice.

Name Please write your name or your Line Manager’s name on the form followed by the name of your service. This allows us to return the list to the correct person and also to know who is authorising the keeping of these files.

When the form is completed and the boxes are ready for collection email the form to the RMS Team preferably the day before collection. After the boxes have been delivered to the Record Centre the following information is added to the ERC2 Form

Consignment Number This is a unique number created by adding the Group Reference Code (a coded description of the function of the section sending the consignment) followed by the next consecutive number of the consignments entered onto our database.

RC Box Location the number in the storage sequence we have assigned to the box.

RD Unit Number: Each item in the box is given a number to uniquely identify it from similar items that may have the same title, e.g. “John Smith”!

A copy of the completed ERC2 form will be sent to the depositor of the boxes once this information is entered.

Please note that we cannot accept delivery of boxes between the following times due to staff resources:- 12.30 pm and 2.00 pm and after 4.30 pm

Please comply with the following or we may have to refuse to accept your boxes

  • Do not overfill boxes or fill in a manner that will stretch the box.

  • Do not submit boxes in excess of 12 kg.

  • Do not stick forms or labels to the outside of the box: forms should be sent by email and if you feel obliged to send physically put inside the boxes.

  • Please do not write anything on the outside of the box except the consignment box number which corresponds to the form, as this compromises security.

  • Ensure that the erc2 forms are completed and also e-mailed to us before your boxes are sent.

  • Please remove all lever arch / ring binders from boxes to maximise space.

  • Please get an agreed date from records management prior to sending the boxes.

Withdrawing and returning records

When you need to request back a record, simply contact the Records Management Service (by email where possible) quoting the following information from the ERC2 form.

Consignment Number This is a combination of departmental code and consignment Number e.g. HR 43

RD Unit Number  

RC Box Location Number

Title / File Number

Please give your name, council, department, telephone Ext., and address if outside Borough Hall.

The file will be retrieved and booked out on the RMS database and the person who requested the file will be contacted for collection. An Orange tracer Label will be attached so that the document can be returned to the RMS, booked in on our database and returned to its storage location.

Please do not remove this label unless it is to be permanently withdrawn in which case write perm on it and return it to rms. Please do not remove or deface the barcodes or any other labels on the boxes as these are either for identification or storage location.

We aim to retrieve all files within one day but with a considerable proportion of our holdings now kept in off site storage facilities this is not always possible or practical. If an offsite file is required urgently as long as it is ordered before 2.45 pm it should be delivered the following day. Alternatively we can order an urgent delivery within 4 hours but you will have to pay the delivery charge for this - currently £145.00.

Files can be collected between the 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from the Archives and Records Service on the second floor in the Riverside Building, Borough Hall. Records awaiting collection are kept on the shelves marked COLLECTION. There is no need to sign for the file. Records/files can also be collected from the basement in Borough Hall but please ring 42270 before you visit to ensure there is someone in attendance. 

When you receive the file you have requested you are expected to take appropriate measures to prevent the loss or unauthorised access to the information held on the file. The information on the file must only be used for a legitimate business purpose of the council which owns the file.

Disclosure of personal data held on the file must not take place other than to comply with the rights of the relevant data subject or otherwise as obliged by the Data Protection Act 1998. Where the council which owns the file has discretion to disclose personal data under the 1998 Act the specific requirement of the Act must be in place (as well as any relevant code, policy, procedure or the like of the relevant council) before such disclosure may take place.

When you have finished with a file, return it to the RETURNS Shelf in the Records Office in the Riverside Building. The file will be marked as returned on the RM Database and returned to storage.

Contact details for the Records Management Service


Ann Jones  
Team Leader (Records Access)
(01234) 276981 / 44981

John Gurney
Records Manager
Tel: (01234) 228923 / 42923   

Tina Hunter-Goulder
Records Manager
(01234) 228423 / 42423  
Borough Hall Basement 42270